Regulation of hemoglobin synthesis by ecdysterone and juvenile hormone during development of Chironomus thummi (Diptera). Academic Article uri icon


  • Chironomus thummi contains nine soluble hemoglobins (Hbs) in the larval hemolymph which can be resolved by 12.7% acrylamide gel electrophoresis (pH 8.65). Hemoglobins 2 and 3 are stage specific for the 4th instar and are first detected by day 4 of this stage in vivo, being absent in the 3rd instar. Fat-body cultures in the presence of 3H-delta-aminolevulinic acid and 14C-amino acids synthesize and secrete labelled Hbs, as was assayed by acrylamide gel electrophoresis and immunoprecipitation of Hbs recovered from the culture medium. During development from 3rd instar to pupa, Chironomus fat body undergoes functional changes, being actively involved in Hb synthesis in intermolt periods and inactive with respect to Hb production during molting. The repression of Hb synthesis is reversed following the molt from the 3rd instar to the 4th instar. Metamorphosis is related to a gradual and irreversible loss of Hb synthesis and secretion by the fat body. The treatment of fat body in vitro with ecdysterone inhibits Hb synthesis in tissue from intermolt animals, even in the presence of excess methoprene, a potent juvenile hormone analogue. In contrast, immunoprecipitation of the translation products from a wheat-germ cell-free system, using mRNA from ecdysterone-treated 4th-instar fat body as a template, shows significant synthesis of globins, suggesting that ecdysterone does not affect the amount or template activity of globin messages. Methoprene induces the precocious in vitro synthesis of Hbs 2 and 3 in day-2 4th-instar fat body and enhances all Hb synthesis in the absence of ecdysterone. In vitro treatment with methoprene activates newly molted fat body to synthesize Hbs 2 and 3 in vitro. The process of Hb induction by this analogue is completely inhibited by actinomycin D or ecdysterone. Fat body from animals already exposed to high endogeneous ecdysterone titer are insensitive to treatment with this juvenile hormone analogue. Intermolt larvae normally possess stable Hb mRNA molecules, because actinomycin-D administration in vitro does not affect Hb synthesis for as long as 30 h, whereas it effectively inhibits all RNA synthesis in the fat body. Immunoprecipitation of globin translated in vitro from mRNA from 2-day-old 4th-instar larvae treated in vivo with methoprene shows enhanced synthesis of globins 2 and 3, as compared to controls with no treatment. It is suggested that both juvenile hormone and ecdysterone regulate Hb synthesis in Chironomus; juvenile hormone affecting the activity of Hb genes, and ecdysterone modulating the level of Hb gene expression.

publication date

  • 1984